A few blogs ago, I wrote about my goal to read an alphabetical list of authors. It may seem like I'm slacking off on that goal, since I haven't done a book review since F for Frankl in mid-April. The project was temporarily de-railed by an unfortunate hairball incident followed by a new obsession to follow the Nook vs. Kindle debate. There have also been about two dozen T-ball and baseball games and practices, so taxiing kids is my new part-time job. Still, I have been reading in that time. The books I've read since then are:
"Eleven," by Patricia Reilly Giff
"Are You There, Vodka? It's Me Chelsea," by Chelsea Handler
"Blood Memory," by Greg Iles
"Escape," by Carolyn Jessop
"Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth," by Jeff Kinney
"The Call of the Wild," by Jack London
Today, I'll tackle Giff and Handler. I picked up "Eleven" at the library while I was on the hunt for a fast, easy read for one of my boys. I was trying to cater to his adult interest level while respecting his "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" attention span. This looked like a good mystery-suspense kind of book. It lived up to the mystery part, but it was not an especially exciting suspense. As the main character Sam is nearing his eleventh birthday, he finds newspaper clippings in the attic of the home he shares with his Grandpa. In the clippings, he sees his much younger face and the word "missing." Since Sam has never been able to read, he needs help solving the mystery. He makes friends with Caroline, the new girl in school, and she helps him in his search for answers. I found the dialogue and lack of character development disappointing, and when I mentioned the book to my son, he shrugged his shoulders. On that note, I give the book a C+, for a mildly interesting plot line, tidy ending, and mediocre dialogue.
I picked up "Are You There Vodka? It's Me Chelsea" on CD at the library. I figured I was due for a light-hearted yet grown-up book. This definitely met that qualification. There's not much that I can say about the book--really it's unfit for this blog. It's filled with crude and uncomfortable moments. Handler glamorizes binge-drinking and promiscuity. She shamelessly stereotypes just about every group of people you can imagine, whether it's based on race, sexual orientation, hair color or height. This kind of shock-approach to comedy is now more common than uncommon, and I'm getting a little bored with the comedic contest of who can be the most offensive. Still, I give this one a C+, because I caught myself laughing...but I felt really guilty about it.